Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2023

There are few things as relaxing as the whisper of wind through the trees or the camping sound of a mountain stream, but it turns out these sounds do more than just help you fall asleep. It turns out that the sounds of nature can actually be beneficial for your health. 

A team of researchers from Michigan State University, Carleton University, and Colorado State University partnered with the National Park Service to investigate how natural sounds impact human health. They analyzed 18 studies and found that just listening to sounds found in natural landscapes has the power to decrease stress and pain, improve cognitive function, and enhance mood. 

The researchers aren’t quite sure why this correlation between natural sounds and health exists, but they believe it is because the sounds of nature prompt our brains to shift our focus outward, while man-made sounds prompt our brains to shift our focus inwards, causing additional stress. 

Looking more specifically, the researchers even found correlations between different natural sounds and particular benefits. Bird sounds were associated with lowered stress and annoyance, while water sounds enhance tranquility, awareness, and relaxation. 

These health benefits are the basis of practices like the Japanese tradition of “forest bathing,” and part of the reason why time in nature is so good for our mental health. If you don’t have easy access to natural spaces in your day-to-day life, don’t worry! The researchers note that even when mixed with urban sounds, natural noises are still beneficial. Blocking out man-made noises from your home or simply throwing on an ocean sounds playlist also provides health benefits. 

Source study: PNAS – A synthesis of health benefits of natural sounds and their distribution in national parks

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Breaking the ice: Swedish city combats winter loneliness with “say hell...

In the frozen embrace of Luleå, where daylight dwindles to mere hours, plunging into icy seawater becomes a ritual. For Katariina Yliperttula, a dip ...

Read More

Construction project completes the world’s first 3D printed two-story home

Considered one of the largest sources of environmental pollution in the world, it’s no secret that the construction industry is in need of a ...

Read More

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree gets a charitable new life after the holidays

We once shared how a tiny owl was rescued from the branches of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Now we have more good news as ...

Read More

Biden administration launches to help us deal with extreme heat

It’s no secret that this summer season has been a scorcher, what with the increasing heatwaves in the US and raging wildfires across Europe. ...

Read More